Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and 2012 Vice Presidential candidate, didn’t pull any punches Friday while engaging IRS commissioner John Koskinen. The IRS has been under fire for allegedly targeting certain organizations for political reasons.
Ryan was critical of the commissioner, making it plain that he doesn’t believe that many of ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails were “lost.” Speaking before the House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan told Koskinen that it was “misleading” to say the emails had been lost, reports the Huffington Post.
“I am sitting here listening to this testimony…. I don’t believe it. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you,” Ryan told the embattled commissioner. “The Internal Revenue Service comes to Congress a couple of years ago and misleads us and says no targeting is occurring.”
Paul Ryan followed with more sharp jabs, calling foul on IRS claims that the emails were lost, and hard drives wanted for the investigation mysteriously crashed:
“This is not being forthcoming. This is being misleading again,” said Paul Ryan. “This is a pattern of abuse, a pattern of behavior, that is not giving us any confidence that this agency is being impartial. I don’t believe you.
The IRS, long feared by American citizens because of their heavy handed tactics and the lack of recourse one has against the giant government entity, has had the tables turned on them since the targeting allegations surfaced. Paul Ryan picked up on this narrative, asking Koskinen why there’s such a discrepancy between what the IRS expects of its own record keeping and that of hardworking tax payers:
“You can reach into the lives of hardworking taxpayers, and with a phone call, an email or a letter, you can turn their lives upside down,” Paul Ryan said. “You ask taxpayers to hand us seven years of their personal information in case they’re ever audited, and you can’t keep six months of employee emails?”
When Koskinen responded later to Paul Ryan’s comments by saying it was the “first time” in his “long career” that anyone had said they didn’t believe him, Ryan didn’t miss a beat: “I don’t believe you,” he said.
Despite Ryan’s relentless questioning of the IRS’ honesty, Koskinen maintained a defiant tone during his testimony, reports Fox News, telling Paul Ryan, and all else present, that the IRS owed no apologies for the alleged targeting scandal and cover-up.
“I don’t think an apology is owed,” Koskinen said. “We haven’t lost an email since the start of this investigation.”
Paul Ryan apparently disagrees.
Image via Fox News